Many businesses have chosen to go either partially or fully remote throughout the past year, which of course presents some challenges for traditional management styles. This new remote workforce demands a bit more flexibility and some sometimes significant adjustments to standard management procedures.
Know Your Remote Workforce Will be Different From Any Other Companies
Before looking at the seven tips in earnest for properly managing your remote workforce, it’s important to understand there is no “one size fits all” approach to this. In contrast, each company, yours included, will have to modify your strategies, creating a hybrid approach to best meet your specific culture, industry and employment needs. The seven tips are merely suggestions and advice you can learn and then implement if applicable. In addition, what works well initially might have to be altered to maintain proper focus and team chemistry. Therefore, it’s important to give yourself grace as a manager as you navigate the process of overseeing a remote workforce.
Seven Tips for Managing Remote Workforce
1.) Establish Clear Expectations
Clear expectations set at the beginning of the remote process is vital. This will give you direction, helping you to know whether you should interfere as a manager or let your remote team member handle whatever the issue is on their own. Lead by example with work/life balance.
2.) Stay Organized From The Start
Create concrete strategies, plans and task outlines from the beginning for your team, then adjust strategies as necessary. It’s ideal to let employees choose their own work hours, working in the evening or morning, so long as the quality of their work is meeting the strategies and plans you have put in place.
3.) Hire Employees Who Can Manage Themselves
The remote work setup is ideally suited for employees who are capable of managing themselves. This means that an employee will do their work and stay on task without the requirement of heavy-handed management.
4.) Resist The Temptation to Micromanage
Some managers go overboard when it comes to managing a remote workforce, even adding tracking software to ensure employees are working the hours stated. Instead of taking this approach, which can just frustrate your hard-working workforce, allow them to manage themselves as long as they keep doing their jobs effectively and meeting expectations.
5.) Embrace Different Viewpoints and Cultures
Create an environment where your diverse team can share their viewpoints and help each other formulate new solutions. A remote workforce presents an ideal opportunity to expand your cultural viewpoints as a company and embrace other ways of getting the job done.
6.) Use Tools to Automate Management Tasks
Ideally, you can set up some sort of automated system, incorporating software or apps that let everyone on your team know their responsibilities for the day. This will eliminate the need for daily check-ins, direct reports or frequent status meetings, which saves everyone a great deal of time and lets your team focus on completing work instead.
7.) Intentionally Maintain Strong Team Bonds and Support
Although you don’t want to become overly involved or micromanage, you don’t want to go the other extreme either. You need to schedule regular check-ins, and maybe even incorporate remote group social activities and more to create a team bond and allow your team to support each other. You should also look for ways to celebrate the same work and personal milestones that you would in an in-person office setting.
Bottom Line: Managing a Remote Workforce Requires Trust
Managing employees remotely doesn’t have to be hard. The key to success is hiring people you can trust and then communicating in advance what you expect for your team, then giving them the freedom to get it done. Contact us to learn more about a remote workforce and how best to manage this alternative working environment.